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BRITTANY: Land of Myths and Legend

Carnac's menhirs
Guimiliau's calvarie
Eve's birth
Pointe du Raz
Barnenez's cairn
The Mont-Saint-Michel

Isolated in the northwest corner of France and an independent duchy for centuries, Brittany long ago developed a distinctive culture, blending the mysterious and the practical. Celts from ancient Britain gave Brittany its name, early language and a legacy of myths, which include King Arthur and his Round Table. Towering stone megaliths, set in place by Neolithic people for reasons that still baffle archaeologists, dot the landscape and reinforce the air of mystery that pervades the area.

BRITTANY

Land of Myths and Legend

8 DAYS, 7 NIGHTS

Land of Myths and Legend

  • HIGHLIGHTS:
    • The Emerald Coast between Mont-Saint-Michel and Saint-Malo, where explorers and pirates set sail for the New World.
    • Intricately carved stone figures of the parish closes of Guimiliau, Saint-Thégonnec or Pleyben.
    • Travel back in time to the 11th century as you explore Rouen, Falaise, Bayeux and Caen, towns that evoke the exploits of William the Conqueror.
    • Quimper, home of Brittany's colorful glazed earthenware; Rennes, regional capital and Brittany's largest city; Pont Aven, home to Paul Gauguin in the 1880s.
    • The enchanted Brocéliande Forest, land of King Arthur. Hear ancient tales of Brittany's legendary past.
    • Picturesque fishing towns and villages.

 

Day 1: (Lodging in Pontorson)

  • Arrival day,
    • Arrival in Rennes. An En France guide will meet new arrivals at the train station
    • On our way to Pontorson we will stop for a brief visit of the walled city and castle of Fougères.
  • Evening
    • Welcome apéritif and orientation.

 

Day 2: (Hotel in Pontorson)

Cancale, Dinan and Mont-Saint-Michel

  • Morning
    • Visit Cancale, a fishing port famous for its oysters, and Saint-Malo. Founded in the 6th century, this fortified city became one of France's most important ports. From here, fishermen, sailors and pirates set sail for the New World. You'll wander the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town and walk the 12th-century ramparts. The castle watchtowers offer impressive views of the coast.
  • Afternoon
    • Explore Dinan, its cobbled streets, shops and half-timbered dwellings--a perfectly preserved medieval town, guarded by its imposing castle. Panoramic views of the Rance Valley.
  • Evening
    • Night visit of the Mont-Saint-Michel.

 

Day 3: (Hotel in Morlaix)

Guincamp, Morlaix and Brittany's parish closes

  • Morning
    • Visit Guincamp to see the Black Madonna in the basilica of Notre Dame de Bon Secours.
    • Check into the hotel at Morlaix.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • Visit some of Brittany's parish closes: St-Thégonnec, La Martyre, or Guimiliau, distinctive religious monuments of the 16th-18th centuries, groupings of calvaries, fantastically decorated and carved in granite.
  • Late afternoon

 

Day 4: (Hotel in Morlaix)

Perros-Guirec, Barnenez and St-Pol-de-Léon

  • Morning
    • Drive to Perros-Guirec to explore the Corniche Bretonne. You'll enjoy magnificent views and have fun putting familiar names on the fantastic shapes of the great granite rocks. Other visitors have recognized a whale, an umbrella, Napoleon's hat, and more. Walk along the craggy rose granite seascape of Perros-Guirec. Admire its giant boulders, silver-sand beaches, lighthouses and caves believed to have been inhabited by Neolithic tribes.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • Visit the ancient Cairn de Barnenez a burial mound built well over 6000 years ago, and St-Pol-de-Léon, a small market town with a fine medieval cathedral and belfry.
  • Evening
    • Dinner

 

Day 5: (Hotel in Quimper)

Locronan, Quimper and Pointe du Van

  • Morning
    • Drive through the Monts d'Arrée to Locronan, whose fine Renaissance buildings were built with wealth gained through the manufacture of sailcloth. The sailcloth is gone, but the village retains its original appearance and is reserved for pedestrians only.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • Check into hotel in Quimper.
    • Drive to the dramatic cliffs of Pointe du Van for panoramic views over the Atlantic.
  • Evening
    • Dinner

 

Day 6: (Hotel in Locmariaquer)

Quimper, Pont-Aven and Carnac

  • Morning
    • Take time to explore Quimper, the oldest city in Brittany. Discover its distinctive Breton architecture, remarkable cathedral and folk museum, unique hand-decorated, colorful faïence (glazed earthenware).
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • Explore Pont-Aven, a village known for lovely promenades. One walk crisscrosses the river on landscaped paths for views of mansions and watermills. Another leads into wooded gardens which have inspired musicians, poets and painters. Gauguin lived here in the 1880s and influenced the development of an art colony. A wooden Christ sculpture in the 16th century Trémalo Chapel was the model for Gauguin's "Yellow Christ".
  • Late afternoon
    • Guided visit of the megalithic monuments at Carnac, the most important prehistoric site in Europe, with almost 3,000 menhirs.

 

Day 7: (Hotel in Locmariaquer)

Gavrinis

  • Morning
    • Spend the day exploring the Golfe du Morbihan and its islands. Special visit to see the Cairn de Gavrinis, considered the most interesting megalithic monument in Brittany.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • Explore other monuments near Locmariaquer.

 

Day 8:

On the way to Rennes we will visit Brocéliande (Merlin's forest).

  • Morning
    • En Route to Rennes brief walk in the primeval forest of Brocéliande, legendary realm of King Arthur, whose story is closely linked to Breton history. Possible stop at the remains of the ancient château and the fountain which legend says is the birthplace of the fairy Viviane, Lady of the Lake. See the magical spring where the sorcerer Merlin is said to have met Viviane.
    • Visit the church at Tréhorenteuc and trace the history of the Grail and its powerful impact on Breton culture.
    • Mid-Afternoon: Arrive in Rennes to take the TGV back to Paris.

 

What our travelers say about Brittany